Carole King – Tapestry – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Please note that we do not have a graphic for our chart to indicate the Four Plus grade, since we award it so rarely. Our rating system usually only goes to three pluses, but this side one was so amazing we had to give it a fourth!

This White Hot pressing gives you TRULY KILLER SOUND for this classic album! It’s not easy to find great sound for Tapestry. Most pressings are either dull and veiled, or hard and edgy in the midrange — not exactly the kind of sound we’re after.

This kind of sound is not easy to find on this album. As we said above, the typical copies are either dull and murky or edgy and downright unpleasant, and on half the ones that DO sound good the vinyl is thrashed! On a copy like this, though, the sound gets out of the way and lets you focus on the MUSIC — and make no mistake, this album is a true classic.

We went nuts for this album during our big shootout. Since most of the time we’re playing testosterone-fueled, raging classic rock, it was a nice change of pace for us — and certainly easier on our poor eardrums! Our man JT makes an appearance playing acoustic guitar on a number of tracks, most notably You’ve Got A Friend, and his pals Russ Kunkel and Danny Kootch turn up too, with Kootch handling most of the electric guitar duties.

What’s surprising, if you haven’t played this album in a while, is how good non-hit tracks like “Home Again” can be. But there aren’t many of those non-hits on this album, and that’s a good thing; almost every song was a hit or received a lot of radio play. The quality of the material is that good.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Transparency and Weight

One quality that the better copies displayed was transparency. The better copies made it possible to hear through the mix to Carole’s piano, which is often placed toward the back of the mix where it underpins the music, playing a less prominent role. The best copies really let you follow her playing all the way through every song, no matter how quietly her part or how far back in the mix she may be placed.

If the pressing has a thinner sound, obviously it becomes easier to pick up on the precussive nature of the instrument. The trick is to hear the full range of notes, and for that you need both piano weight and transparency.

The Reissues Won’t Get You There

The CBS Half Speed is ridiculously bright — can you imagine a worse way to present this intimate music? Bernie Grundman’s heavy vinyl pressing isn’t terrible, but it isn’t all that musical and never really comes to life. We dropped the needle on it for a few moments and were bored to tears.

Tough Sledding with Tapestry

You don’t see Tapestry Hot Stampers on the site too often because folks, take it from us, it ain’t easy to find them. Many of the minty looking copies we had here turned out to be quite noisy, and most of the quiet ones sounded no better than decent. We’ll stay on the lookout for great copies, but don’t expect to see another top quality Tapestry Hot Stamper anytime soon.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

I Feel the Earth Move
So Far Away
It’s Too Late
Home Again
Beautiful
Way Over Yonder

Side Two

You’ve Got a Friend
Where You Lead
Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
Smackwater Jack
Tapestry
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

AMG Review

Carole King brought the fledgling singer/songwriter phenomenon to the masses with Tapestry, one of the most successful albums in pop music history. A remarkably expressive and intimate record, it’s a work of consummate craftsmanship.

Always a superior pop composer, King reaches even greater heights as a performer; new songs like the hits “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move” rank solidly with past glories, while chestnuts like “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” take on added resonance when delivered in her own warm, compelling voice.

With its reliance on pianos and gentle drumming, Tapestry is a light and airy work on its surface, occasionally skirting the boundaries of jazz, but it’s also an intensely emotional record, the songs confessional and direct; in its time it connected with listeners like few records before it, and it remains an illuminating experience decades later.